The newsroom includes access to CHA News, which provides timely information to members every Monday and Thursday and is at the core of CHA benefits. In addition, it is also home to resources such as toolkits and talking points designed to help member hospitals and health systems communicate with internal and external audiences on a range of current health care-related issues. Links to CHA media statements and press releases can also be found here.  

Biden Issues COVID-19 Action Plan with Vaccine Requirements for Health Care Workers, Federal Employees & Contractors, Private Sector Employees

Today President Biden announced his COVID-19 Action Plan. As part of the plan, President Biden issued an executive order requiring all federal executive branch workers to be vaccinated with no option for being regularly tested as an alternative and an executive order directing that this standard be extended to employees of contractors that do business with the federal government.  

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Extension Available for Submitting Training Proof to Attorney General

On Aug. 23, the state Attorney General (AG) sent a letter to 191 California perinatal health care facilities asking them to submit, by Sept. 20, proof of compliance with Senate Bill (SB) 464 (Statutes of 2019, Ch. 533). This law requires hospitals to provide initial and refresher training to perinatal personnel on implicit bias in maternity care, effective Jan. 1, 2020.  

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CHA Comments on CY 2022 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule

CHA submitted comments on the calendar year (CY) 2022 physician fee schedule proposed rule.

In the letter, CHA: 

  • Urges CMS to work with Congress to address significant payment reductions to the proposed conversion factor and physician payments 
  • Urges CMS to continue to support the expansion of telehealth by finalizing proposals to maintain Category 3 telehealth services until the end of CY 2023 and adopt the same policy for telehealth services added to the Medicare telehealth list for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, but not as Category 3 services. 
  • Strongly supports waiving geographic site restrictions and adding the patient’s home as an originating site for mental health services provided via telehealth. CHA also urges CMS to consider revising its proposed policies on the interval of required in-person visits and clarify that patients can be seen in-person by clinicians in the same group as the practitioner who provides the telehealth service.  
  • Strongly supports CMS’ proposed modification to the definition of “interactive telecommunications system” to include audio-only communications for mental health services and urges CMS to apply this definition to additional services, such as evaluation and management (E/M) services as allowed during the COVID-19 public health emergency 
  • Strongly supports a delay in the payment penalty phase of the Appropriate Use Criteria program and urges CMS to reconsider proposals to repurpose certain modifiers 
  • Urges CMS to reconsider several proposals related to E/M services, including proposals related to split billing and critical care services 
  • Urges CMS to clarify several proposals related to the rural health clinic (RHC) per visit limit as established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA) and provide additional flexibilities for provider-based RHCs that were under development prior to the CAA’s passage  
  • Generally supports proposed changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program and provides feedback in response to the agency’s requests for information related to benchmarking and risk adjustment  

CHA thanks members for their feedback, which helped inform comments.  

As Session Closes, Two Big Issues Delayed

In these final few days of the 2021 legislative session, with all political eyes on the Sept. 14 recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom, there is mixed news on two issues of great importance to hospitals.

Both CHA’s proposed 2030 seismic mandate reform and the governor’s Office of Health Care Affordability will not be advancing this year.

Seismic Mandate Reform

The proposal to modernize disaster readiness requirements by updating the 2030 seismic standards is ultimately about bringing much-needed relief to hospitals that continue to go above and beyond during this pandemic. The need for that relief does not disappear with the change of a calendar date.

We will continue to press for seismic reform in the coming year. Given all the groundwork that has been laid — including an agreement with the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and the administration on a reformed standard, hundreds of conversations with legislators and their staffs, and an unprecedented effort on the part of hospital leaders throughout the state to educate policymakers on the need for their support — our work to secure this proposal’s path forward will continue.

Office of Health Care Affordability

The office would have created limits on the rate of increase in health spending in California, and the CHA team spent countless hours working to address concerns and issues with the proposal, including accounting for the extraordinary cost of the 2030 seismic mandate. This bill will return next year.

Among the key amendments that CHA has and will continue to fight for when this returns next year:

  • All health care entities, including payers, must be held accountable for health care spending growth targets.
  • Any calculations of growth targets must factor all input costs, including labor.
  • The office should focus on reducing the rate of growth in per capita expenditures, not cut current spending levels.
  • Before any financial penalties can be assessed, the office must take into account the impact on access, quality, and a health care entity’s financial stability.

The news of these bills being delayed comes at a time when hospitals are once again in the throes of a relentless cycle of COVID-19 surges that continues to stretch your workforce and resources to care for patients to their breaking points.

We continue to drive this point home with the governor’s COVID-19 team and reinforce for all involved that when it comes to providing help for hospitals — both in the short-term as we navigate surge after surge and the long-term as we begin to rebuild our fractured system — politics must, in no uncertain terms, take a back seat to meeting the needs of the people of California.

Press Contact

Jan Emerson-Shea
Vice President, External Affairs
(916) 552-7516

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